Jessica and Joe's Love Story:
I started working for Joe in May of 2007, and we worked together for well over a year.
It took me awhile to admit that I even liked him. My Nana and Mom tried to pry it out of me on a few occasions, but I even went so far as to tell them, “he's not my type.”
On our first date, he took me to Frenchy's on Clearwater Beach for lunch. It was the beginning of stone crab season. I had never had stone crab, and I was about to realize what I had been missing all these years. Now, every year for our anniversary we go have stone crabs. It's amazing how a food can give a memory new life.
I've only been asking Joe to marry me since practically our first date. We planned a Michigan vacation early in 2012 to attend a family reunion on Joe's maternal side.
On our first day in Michigan, Joe stated he was taking me for a surprise. I moaned a little and thought, “Great. He's taking me to White Castle.” (Joe had specifically mentioned numerous times that all he wanted was a burger from White Castle).
We drove down a two lane winding road. As we drove, Joe called out various places to me, including his Grandma Verna's house. The next thing I knew, we were pulling into a place called the Yates Cider Mill. I learned Joe's Grandma took him and his brother to this mill every winter. Joe started to walk down to the river's mouth, and I followed. I had no idea what was about to take place.
We sat down on an uprooted tree trunk that was now repurposed as a bench. There were a few men fly fishing and a family with kids playing in the water down the river. I laid my head on Joe's shoulder and closed my eyes. The sound of water was peaceful.
Joe asked me, “So, do you want to see what I've been carrying around with me all day?” and pulled out the ring from his pocket. It was loose, not in a box. I was floored. He got down on one knee and asked that magic question, “Will you marry me?”
The Clearwater couple held a fall themed wedding ceremony at Jessica's Nana's house on the fifth anniversary of their first date, with her aunt officiating.
“My Papa built my Nana's house back in the '70s. Turning her yard into my vision was truly magical,” the bride reminisced. “We purchased over 50 pumpkins from a local patch and lined them on the driveway and scattered maple leaves all over the ground.”
Jessica held an exhaustive search for her St. Petersburg wedding reception venue to find a location that would reflect her and Joe's personalities.
“I toured 32 – yes 32 venues,” the bride explained. “There’s nothing like NOVA 535. I felt it in my bones as soon as I walked in. It complemented our modern taste. The brick walls are what sold me.”
During her modern, cocktail-style wedding reception, Jessica wowed guests with a “Venetian hour,” an Italian tradition.
“The last hour of the reception we opened the second floor and had over 1,200 pieces of dessert,” the bride shared. “The desserts also served as the guests' favors.”
Looking back, Jessica shared her most memorable of her wedding day.
“Seeing Joe’s face for the first time walking down the aisle was pure happiness,” she gushed.
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Have fun. Stay organized.
Hire a wedding planner. I am the most organized person I know, but without Tammy [of Special Moments], the day would not have been streamlined. You need someone on that day who is in charge – and not a relative.
“Turning my Nana's yard into my vision was truly magical. We purchased over 50 pumpkins from a local patch and lined them on the driveway and scattered maple leaves all over the ground.” – The Bride
“Seeing Joe’s face for the first time walking down the aisle was pure happiness.” – The Bride
“There’s nothing like NOVA 535. I felt it in my bones as soon as I walked in. It complemented our modern taste. The brick walls are what sold me.” – The Bride
“The last hour of the reception we opened the second floor and had over 1,200 pieces of dessert. The desserts also served as the guests' favors.” – The Bride
St. Petersburg Wedding Ceremony Venue: Private Residence
St. Petersburg Wedding Reception Venue: NOVA 535 Unique Event Space *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Venue
St. Petersburg Wedding Photographer: Brandi Image Photography
St. Petersburg Wedding Planner: Special Moments *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
St. Petersburg Wedding Florist: Iza’s Flowers
St. Petersburg Wedding Caterer: Chives Catering
St. Petersburg Wedding Dessert Table: Hands on Sweets *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
St. Petersburg Wedding Invitations: A+P Designs *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
St. Petersburg Wedding Officiant: Mary Ann Shreve-Flagor
St. Petersburg Wedding DJ: DJ Felix
St. Petersburg Wedding Dress: Birnbaum & Bullock (New York)
St. Petersburg Wedding Tuxedos: Jos. A Bank
St. Petersburg Wedding Hair & Makeup: The Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Artist Group *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
We are proud to have NOVA 535 & Special Moments as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!